Mazzuca: The Founders, hyperbole and free speech | VailDaily.com
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Mazzuca: The Founders, hyperbole and free speech

Whenever discussing politics or examining public policy, it’s always wise to ask how the Founders might have acted regarding the issue or question. So, I will ask rhetorically, how might Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton and Madison have reacted to impeaching a president without due process?

Hyperbole

“Goodwin’s Law” is an internet adage asserting that as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler increases; and when that occurs, the discussion is effectively terminated.

Recently Arnold Schwarzenegger released a video comparing the president and his followers to the Nazis. Frankly I didn’t need Goodwin to tell me when someone uses Hitler or the Nazis to make a political point, what they’re really doing is substituting hyperbole for rational thought. Hyperbole may be fine when describing last night’s dessert, “The strudel was to die for;” but only a fool would actually “die” for a strudel.



Likewise, only a fool would equate anyone or anything with Hitler and the Nazis. There is no evil in modern history that rivals that of the Third Reich. And when someone uses Nazi comparisons, they accomplish two things: First, they diminish what was the most egregious horror ever perpetrated on mankind in modern times; and secondly, they insult and disrespect the memory of the millions of men, women and children who were horrifically tortured and murdered in Nazi death camps. Schwarzenegger should be ashamed of himself.

Free speech

We should all find disturbing the practice of restricting dissenting political speech that has suddenly become fashionable in this country. I’m not referring to “hate speech,” which by the way, has no legal definition under U.S. law, just as there is no legal definition for evil ideas or rudeness of any other kind of speech people might find objectionable.



Rather, I’m referring to companies such as Twitter and Facebook that censored the New York Post from accurately reporting a story about Hunter Biden prior to the election and then shut down the president, Michael Flynn others. The First Amendment prohibits the government from censoring speech, but those constraints don’t apply to private platforms, and what these tech companies are doing is insidious. The Founders never envisioned powerful commercial interests aligned with the one political party directing the flow of information and censoring those whose ideology they disagree with.

What began on campuses when college administrators decided to create “safe spaces” to protect the delicate ears of their students from speech they found offensive has morphed into what we know is the basic tenet of every authoritarian government in history — silencing dissenting political viewpoints.

The practice of CEOs of big corporations deciding who receives what information is a very slippery slope; to cite just one frightening example of just how slippery, CNN’s Oliver Darcy recently advanced the idea that cable providers be forced to stop offering Fox News, One America News Network and News Max on their channel packages — there’s a name for this folks, it’s called fascism.

Authoritarian governments such as Hitler’s Nazi Germany and Mao’s China restrict speech; this should not be happening in America. Meanwhile and very thankfully, since banning the president from its platforms, leaders from Europe to Australia are speaking out against this shameful practice.

The issue isn’t social media’s decision to apply its standards and shut down an account for cause. The issue is that social media doesn’t apply its standards evenhandedly. The Ayatollah Khamenei, Chinese government officials and other authoritarian heads-of-state still have social media accounts. Louis Farrakhan remains on Twitter and you don’t have to look very far to find far left users publicly venting their desire to commit violence; all without a response from Twitter management.

What does it say about the liberal mindset when the New York Times staff revolts over Senator Tom Cotton’s op-ed endorsing the use of the National Guard to quell last summer’s BLM riots, but shows no concern over a column by a Chinese government official arguing in favor of a military crackdown in Hong Kong?

So, what’s going on in America? The left already controls most of the media, and now that Twitter and Facebook have become a primary means of communication and information, it appears tech companies have chosen to censor whatever doesn’t meet with their ideology.

This is not what the Founders envisioned when they wrote the First Amendment; democrat or republican, liberal or conservative, every American should be deeply troubled by this assault upon our most basic right.

Thought for the day: “Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance,” Farmer’s Almanac.


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